“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John & Kiki Dee
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is a duet which, character-wise, is being performed by two lovers. And it is Elton John in particular who, as the title suggests, is worried about Kiki Dee potentially breaking his heart. As such he plays the role of the nervous boyfriend, if you will.
Meanwhile the female vocalist is assuring him that such a thing will never transpire. Moreover she encourages him in general, i.e. lets Elton know that she is in fact smitten with and accordingly loyal to him.
Verily the idea of doing something to hurt him appears to be unfathomable as far as she is concerned.
The second verse takes on a slightly-different tone. The beginning of the passage implies that both of the singers are novices in romance, as in nobody ever actually showed or taught them how to make a relationship work.
This is apparently one of the reasons why Elton is so nervous, as he doesn’t really feel that he knows what he’s doing. But again, Kiki is the more confident of the two. And the verse concludes with both of them proclaiming their love for each other.
At the end of the day…
So conclusively there are two separate, albeit related sentiments being relayed in this song. On the part of the male, he is entreating the female not to break his heart.
And on the part of the female, she is assuring him that such will never ever happen.
And as far as the thesis sentiment goes, as in what they have in common, that would obviously be their love for one another.
Facts about “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
This is another Elton John classic which was written by the singer alongside Bernie Taupin. And another regular collaborator of the Rocketman, the late Gus Dudgeon (1942-2002), produced the track.
In fact one of the labels this track was released under, The Rocket Record Company, was a joint venture between Elton, Bernie and Gus.
And when the trio put this song together, they were trying to emulate the Motown sound (i.e. the classis duets between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). And with that in mind, Kiki Dee holds the distinction of in fact being “the first White British artist signed to Motown”.
However, by the time this song came out, she was rather signed to The Rocket Record Company.
However, as originally composed, the song was intended to rather be a duet between Elton John and Dusty Springfield (1939-1999). But Dusty was reportedly too sick to participate.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, as originally released on 21 June 1976, was not part of any album. However, Elton John did re-release the tune in 1994 as part of a collaborative project he put together entitled Duets. But he performed that particular rendition alongside drag queen RuPaul.
And said version proved to be a notable hit, reaching number one in Iceland, number 3 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs listing and number seven on the UK Singles Chart. And worldwide, it charted in almost 20 nations. Additionally, the music video to that rendition was directed by a filmographer who works regularly with RuPaul, Randy Barbota.
The original version of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was also a duet, though that time around between Elton John and the aforementioned Kiki Dee.
Kiki Dee is likewise a singer from the UK who has collaborated with Sir John consistently throughout the years, sometimes in a songwriting capacity.
And besides this track, they also co-headlined 1976’s “Snow Queen” (the B-side to “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”) and 1993’s “True Love”.
And this is considered to be one of the signature songs of Kiki Dee’s 60+ year career, along with a track she dropped in 1974 entitled “I’ve Got the Music in Me”.
In fact the original version of this song was a monumental hit. It topped music rankings in almost 10 countries, including of course the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100.
It also held down second place on the 1976 year-end listings of both of those charts (being the second highest-selling song in both countries that year). And the track has likewise been certified platinum in the US and UK.
Furthermore, just to note, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was actually the first number one the Rocketman scored in his homeland.
Also, that same year, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” earned Elton and Bernie an Ivor Novello Award in the category of Best Song Musically and Lyrically. And the following year, Elton and Kiki took home a Favorite Pop/Rock Song trophy, due to this track, via the American Music Awards.
Famous Covers of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
Interesting to note is that this song was covered by rapper Q-Tip and pop singer Demi Lovato as part of the 2018 project “Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin”.
And prior to that, the Rocketman himself performed it with Demi Lovato in Los Angeles in 2016.
Additionally Sir John once collaborated with fictional character Miss Piggy to render this tune on a 1977 episode of The Muppet Show.
He also performed it alongside the Spice Girls on a 1997 TV special entitled An Audience with Elton John. And the track was covered by the cast of Glee in 2010.
And French duo Daft Punk sampled “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” onto their 1997 track “Phœnix”.
This track has also been featured on a handful of children’s shows.
Writing and Recording of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
Originally the composition of this song was credited to Ann Orson and Carte Blanche, which were respectively pseudonyms for Elton John and Bernie Taupin which were meant to spell out “an horse and cart, blanche”.
This song was recorded in Toronto (at Eastern Sound Studio) while Elton John and co. were simultaneously putting together his 11th studio album, “Blue Moves”. However, as noted earlier, it was not featured on the project.